It looks like UConn fans can rest a little easier. After a few weeks of rumors about Kevin Ollie leaving for the NBA and talks of a contract extension, Ollie has finally put pen to paper to stay in Storrs. According to multiple reports, Ollie has signed a 5 year contract worth $2.8 million per season, with incentives that can push the annual value to $3 million. The contract more than doubles Ollie’s salary, and it demonstrates UConn’s commitment to keeping their budding star of a coach at their university.
Jim Calhoun built UConn into an elite program, and there was concern about whether or not they could stay at that level following his retirement. Ollie proved that he was the right man to maintain that high standard by winning a national championship in just his second season, and he has now committed to continuing to build UConn basketball among the nation’s elite.
This decision is significant on a number of levels for UConn. First and foremost, Ollie is a simply a very good coach, and his abilities would be very difficult to replace. Ollie is an excellent motivator and has a wide range of knowledge he gathered from his 13 year NBA career. He is rapidly becoming one of the best coaches in college basketball, and his presence makes any group of players UConn has better.
Equally important is what this means for UConn’s future. Now they have nothing to worry about on the recruiting trail, as Ollie can point to this extension and tell recruits that he is 100% committed to UConn. The Huskies also don’t have to worry about any of their current recruits bailing or their current players transferring because of a coaching change. That peace of mind is important, because the reality of college sports is that players commit to a coach, not a school.
There is no doubt that the Ollie to the NBA rumors will come along again in the future, and he may end up leaving for the pros at some point. However, this new contract seems to ensure that he will stay at UConn for the foreseeable future, which means that UConn will continue to be one of the nation’s elite college basketball programs.